In protest against this, the farmers blocked traffic at Bhumanshah Chowk in Sirsa before moving this sit-in to the office of the superintendent of police upon instructions from their unions. On Friday, they plan to burn the government’s effigies in every Sirsa village, while on Saturday, they will gherao the SP’s office after a Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) mahapanchayat.
A mock drill to train cops in resisting protesters, in Hisar on Thursday
Three cops and as many farmers were injured on Sunday after the protesters pelted Haryana deputy speaker Ranbir Gangwa’s car with stones and smashed its rear windscreen. The Civil Lines police station officer in charge, sub inspector Ramniwas, said the five arrested Sirsa farmers were Balkar Singh, Nikka Singh, Balkaur Singh of Faggu, Sahab Singh of Khairpur, and Daljit Singh of Ranga. On Thursday, a court remanded them in judicial custody. The investigation is based on the video footage of the incident. Haryana Kisan Manch state president Prahlad Singh Bharukhera, one of those accused of sedition, said: “We are in a peaceful agitation for the release of the arrested farmers, that’s why we lifted the Bhumanshah Chowk blockade voluntarily on Thursday. On Friday when the SKM coordinators come to Sirsa, the government’s effigies will burn in every village.”
On July 11, the Civil Line police registered FIR 204 on the complaint of duty magistrate, district welfare officer Sushil Kumar, against Harcharan Singh and Prahlad Singh among those 100 protesters. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections that were applied include 124-A (sedition), 148 (armed riot), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (injuring public servants), and 353 (criminal force to deter public servants).
After this, Sirsa SP Bhupender Singh was transferred to IRB in Bhondsi and IPS officer Arpit Jain brought in as replacement. Civil Lines police station officer in charge Vikram Singh was suspended, and departmental inquiry recommended against DSP Sanjay Kumar, on the report of IGP Rakesh Arya.
‘Mockery of sedition law’:
Sirsa bar association president G P S Kingra accused BJP government of making a mockery of the sedition law to fix the district’s farmers. He said: “This section has been misused more in the last seven years than it has been in the last 70. The Supreme Court and the high court slam the government but it has no effect. I will defend them free of cost.”
‘Don’t provoke farmers’:
Hisar senior advocate J S Malhi said the judiciary had made it clear that opposing the government was a constitutional right and not sedition. He said: “Even two days ago, justice Chandrachud of the Supreme Court said the same. If the government still applies sedition law, it’ll be provoking the farmers to resort to violence.”